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Driveway Lighting Ideas: From the Road to the Front Door

Driveway Lighting Ideas: From the Road to the Front Door

Since the entrance of your house is the first thing you or others see, it is crazy important to take some design notes and apply them to your own house. Imagine coming home to a well lit, and inviting home. Not only will it look and feel good, but you’ll add to your curb appeal increasing the value of your home.

Another benefit is safety – safety of the people walking around at night (you, your family, pedestrians crossing the pavement). A well lit home is also a big deterrent to wannabe thieves. Just having one light on at night makes a huge difference. Below I’m going to give you driveway lighting ideas that go beyond the one light bulb, ideas that light up everything from your driveway and footpath all the way to your front door.

The Driveway Entrance

Let’s start at the entrance of your driveway, were it meets the road. This is an important area to light up, especially if there is a lack of streetlights. Lighting up this area makes it easier to drive into, and helps you see if there are any pedestrians crossing when you are backing out.

Driveway Entrance Lighting Ideas: A simple lighting idea is to place some stake lights on both sides of the entrance. Another idea would be to have stone pillars that mark the entrance, and have lights fitted on top of them like in pictures (1) and (3).

If you have gates, you can have uplights shining up onto the pillars. Or have lanterns sit on top of the pillars

Driving Down

Next up is the driveway itself. The amount of lighting you’ll need will depend on the length of your driveway. Really short driveways can usually get away with just having wall lights attached to the house. Longer driveways will need specific lights that light up the entire distance.

Some ideas for lighting up the driveway include lining it with stake/post lights seen in pictures (2) and (5). Solar powered stake lights, like the ones below (available here) are easy and quick to install:

Lighting Fixtures

Other ideas include down lights (which shine a soft glow onto the floor only), and then there are recessed lights that can be embedded into the side of the driveway (4). A security light attached to the wall of the house can also light up the driveway, and will only turn on when it senses movement (doubles as a security light). Another way to light up the driveway is indirectly, through accent lighting, which I’ll go over below.

If there any changes in direction of the driveway, like a corner or a turning, you’ll want to place a light close to that spot. Another thing to keep in mind is the runway effect. This happens when you place lights on both sides facing each other all the way down the driveway. You want to avoid this by alternating the sides you put the lights on.

The Garage Entrance

If you have a garage then you’ll want to have lighting that lights up the entrance, making it easier to drive into and back out of. The popular way of lighting up the entrance is to have a wall light on both sides of the garage door as seen in picture (6).

The Walk to the Welcome Mat

For a lot of homes there isn’t much need for lights dedicated to the walk to the front door. Homes that will need lights are ones that have longer paths, lack lighting around the rest of the front yard, or have steps or paths that wind and have corners.

Some ways to light up the path to the front door include stake/post lights lining the path, recessed lights embedded into the side of the path, or wall lights on the house shining down onto the path.

The Front Door

It is always good to having lighting around the front door. It makes entering the house at night (fumbling around for the right key) a lot easier, and deters away possible intruders. Having a wall light on both sides of the door is ideal if you have a large doorway (side by side doors, or a door with side panels). While a single wall light on one side of the door is enough for a stand-alone door. A ceiling light will also work.

A Nighttime Landscape

Once you’ve got the main areas sorted out, you can then move on to more decorative lighting ideas. Not only will these make your front yard look better, but these lights can spill over and add light to the main areas talked about above.

If you have any trees in your front yard, this would be a great place to add some accent lighting. Hanging string lights from the branches, or having uprights at the base of the tree, will elegantly light up the tree. You can also hang string lights over any bushes. While rope lights can be bent to outline any flowerbeds you have (7).

If you want to create a grand looking house, then look to light up your facade. This is done by placing some uplights along the base of the house.

Solar Powered vs. Low Voltage

When you are out shopping for your driveway lighting fixtures, you’ll have the choice of solar or low voltage lights. Here are the pros and cons of both types:

  • Solar Powered Lights: Are easier to install as there is no wiring needed – this makes arranging them how you want a lot simpler.  They are much cheaper than low voltage lights. They will automatically come on at night. But they can be less effective during the winter months if you have less sunlight.
  • Low Voltage Light Fixtures: Are more effective and shine brighter than solar powered lights. You can always hook them up to a timer so they will turn on automatically. You do have to deal with the hassle of wiring the lights. The light fixtures themselves are more expensive than solar powered lights BUT they will add much more value to your home. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7

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June 10, 2013 in Lighting, Outdoors

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